Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management

The Institute seeks to contribute to a more humane and just world by providing and sharing knowledge in order to strengthen nonprofit organizations. It does this mainly through research, education, and convening learning opportunities.


The Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management at the University of San Francisco seeks to contribute to a more humane and just world by providing and sharing knowledge in order to strengthen nonprofit organizations. It does this mainly through research, education, and convening learning opportunities.

It views itself as a resource center for the study of nonprofit and philanthropic areas. These resources include contracted research, data on the sector, applied research by students, consulting, interns, job listings, curriculum development, and publications. It also supports the degree and certificate programs in Nonprofit Administration offered by the College of Professional Studies at the University of San Francisco. These curriculum materials are also available to faculty at other institutions through the Teaching Resource Center.

USF Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management offers data and advising services through the California Nonprofit Database to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of the California Nonprofit Sector. Services include connections with foundations; asset mapping for specific locations; tracking trends in California; employment statistics; data sources; and consulting.

The USF International Nonprofit Management Teaching Resource Center (TRC) is a tremendous resource for teachers, students, and practitioners in the nonprofit field. On the website, one can find more than 120 teaching cases searchable by subject, title, and author; course syllabi from universities around the country; and The Nonprofit Leadership and Democracy Curriculum developed for educators and practitioners by the Union Institute Center for Public Policy. In addition, teachers and practitioners are invited to share their own syllabi and teaching materials.

Another large contribution of the organization is the California Nonprofit Database, which provides analytical data, consulting, and resources to California nonprofit organizations.

Historic Roots

The Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management at the University of San Francisco was established in 1983. It was one of the first academic centers in the United States with a primary focus of strengthening and improving the nonprofit sector. Its master’s and certificate programs are modeled worldwide. (Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management)

It is highly regarded as a source of education and research for the nonprofit field. In recent years the Institute has addressed the complex issues of nonprofits around the world, and is recognized as a leader in the region, the U.S., and the world.

“The program was built with the help of grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In the early 1990s, two non-degree certificate programs were added: one in nonprofit management designed for executives and the other a credential for fundraisers. (Students in the master's program will be able to specialize in fund raising beginning in the 2005-6 academic year, says Mike Cortés, director of the university's Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management, which conducts research on philanthropy and oversees the master's curriculum)“ (Chronicle 2004).


The Institute’s groundbreaking research activities have opened many new areas of knowledge such as the effects of growing cultural diversity on giving and volunteering, characteristics of the nonprofit sector in California, effects of demographic changes on the sector, and nonprofit uses of information technology. Its books, articles, working papers, case collections, and syllabi collections have been used by thousands of people and include topics such as philanthropy in communities of color, Latinos and the nonprofit sector, women and power in the nonprofit sector, new directions in nonprofit management education, giving and volunteering in California, statistical profiles of the nonprofit sector in California, and roles of religious congregations in welfare reform (University of San Francisco).

In addition to supporting degree and certificate programs in Nonprofit Administration offered by the College of Professional Studies at the University of San Francisco, the Institute is instrumental in developing curriculum that is used by faculty at other institutions through the Teaching Resource Center.

Finally, events and conferences at the Institute benefit researchers and nonprofit professionals. Events in 2005 included Symposium on Board Leadership for Nonprofit Integrity, 2nd Annual West Coast Nonprofit Data Conference, Future of Philanthropy, and Information Technology in the Nonprofit Sector.

Ms. Heidrich, of the CenterPoint Institute, affirms the importance of college campus nonprofit management programs. "They are the only places where research is being produced about the nonprofit sector and about nonprofit leadership and management,” says Ms. Heidrich. “And without them, all the nonprofits would be operating only from what they're able to learn from experience. Which is not to diminish that, but what the universities are doing is building a knowledge base" (Chronicle 2004).

Ties to the Philanthropic Sector

The institute is a tremendous resource for the nonprofit sector and those with an interest in learning about philanthropy. The main areas in which it contributes is education, research, and in convening people in the nonprofit arena. “The Institute strengthens the nonprofit sector through applied research and education by conducting and publishing scientifically rigorous research for use by managers, leaders, policymakers, and scholars; improving and supporting professional education in nonprofit management; and convening practitioners, scholars, and leaders to develop new strategies for strengthening nonprofits and philanthropy” (Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management).

More than 400 alumni of USF Master of Nonprofit Administration degree and certificate programs hold a wide range of leadership and key management positions, and in collaboration with the USF Nonprofit Administration Alumni Society share and participate in the Institute’s special events. In addition, the work of the Institute is supported by private donors, foundations, and earned revenue (Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management).

Key Related Ideas

Applied research is any research that is used to answer a specific question, determine why something failed or succeeded, solve a specific, pragmatic problem, or to gain better understanding of something in the real world.

Asset mapping is a t tool for mobilizing community resources. It is the process by which the capacities of individuals, civic associations, and local institutions are inventoried (MAPP).

Demographics are the characteristics of the population that influence consumption of products and services. They include such items as age, sex, race, family size, level of education, occupation, income and location of residence.

Public policy can be a set of action guidelines or rules that result from the actions or lack of actions of governmental entities.

Trend is a general direction taken, a current style or preference or a vogue.

Important People Related to the Topic

  • Michael Cortés (1946 -): Mike Cortés is the director of the Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management and program director for the Nonprofit Administration Program in the College of Professional Studies at the University of San Francisco. His research focuses on public policy advocacy by nonprofit organizations and on Latino nonprofits and philanthropy in the U.S.
  • Michael O’Neill (1938 -): Michael O’Neill was the founder in 1983 of the Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management at USF and served as director of the Institute for 17 years. He is currently professor of nonprofit management in the College of Professional Studies at USF. A highly respected leader in the nonprofit management education field, he is the author or co-author of several books on the nonprofit sector, including his latest, Nonprofit Nation: A New Look at the Third America (Jossey-Bass, 2002). He is past president of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA).
  • Carol Silverman: Carol Silverman is the current research director for the Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management at the University of San Francisco. Her past research has focused on the implications of homeowners’ associations for civil society and how voluntary organizations, run by and for mentally ill, often homeless, individuals, affect member outcomes. At the Institute, she conducts research in a wide variety of areas with policy and practice implications for the nonprofit sector.

Related Nonprofit Organizations

  • The Center for Leadership of Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and the Public Sector at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities exists to enhance the leadership of institutions that serve the public, nonprofits, philanthropy, and the public sector. It highlights their ability to work together effectively to advance the common good and serve the public interest. (
  • The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University provides academic and research resources. Their Philanthropy Incubator is the name of a new effort to provide workshops for philanthropy professionals. (
  • The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Grand Valley State University promotes learning in the field of philanthropy through its Community Research Institute, Nonprofit Leadership and Management, and Philanthropic and Nonprofit Management research. (
  • The Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Case Western Reserve University is a resource for nonprofit scholars and practitioners. It provides education information, research, and community service in Cleveland, Ohio. (
  • The National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration is the organization to which most of the above college-related nonprofit information centers belong. It promotes training and excellence in education for those in public service. (

Related Web Sites

The Independent Sector Web site, at, provides research on the giving of Americans, background on government policies affecting nonprofits, codes of ethics for nonprofits, and more.

The CenterPoint Institute Web site, at, provides documents of interest to nonprofit organizations and is a nonprofit consulting firm. The CenterPoint Institute is allied with CenterPoint Management, a technology services provider.

Nonprofit Academic Centers Council Web site, at, provides curriculum guidelines on 13 topic areas, including ethics, nonprofit governance, financial management, fund raising, information technology, and the history of philanthropy. It also provides a listing and links to programs, centers, and institutions in the country.

Bibliography and Internet Sources

The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Special Report January 8, 2004. Accessed 7 December 2005.

The Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management. Accessed 7 December 2005.

MAPP. MAPP Glossary. Accessed 7 December 2005.